The Florida ACLU helping a retiree get his seized guns back is just the latest in a small series of moves by ACLU state affiliates in support of gun rights. The traditionally anti-second amendment national ACLU may be changing course, too.
An ACLU insider with a state affiliate told me the national organization is in the middle of “rethinking” their position on second amendment rights.
When contacted, the national ACLU media office directed me to the online statement of their position on gun rights (last updated in 2008). The national press office said that no one could answer the following question until next month: “Is the ACLU rethinking or considering rethinking its policy towards second amendment rights after the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions?”
The case in Florida is garnering some attention, though. Monday, Robert Weinstein of Pompano Beach, Fla., got his two handguns back, per court order, after the Broward County sheriff’s office held them since February. Not really a national headline, but notable for this: the Florida affiliate of the ACLU petitioned on Weinstein’s behalf.
After his wife’s death, the police seized Weinstein’s legally-owned guns (with Weinstein’s permission), believing him to be a suicide risk; he was then cleared in a medical evaluation. Believing his rights to be violated, he approached the Florida ACLU to help him get his property back — and the ACLU took up the case and won.
The ACLU helping to retrieve seized guns, though, might not be so novel. In recent years, other state affiliates have moved in favor of gun owners’ rights.
Last year, the Louisiana ACLU petitioned on behalf of Errol Houston Jr. of New Orleans in a case similar to the Florida one. Houston had been arrested for carrying an illegal weapon and marijuana possession; the charges were later refused — but the gun was never returned. The ACLU then filed the suit, which is currently on their docket.
In 2007, the Texas ACLU, in partnership with the Texas affiliate of the NRA and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, published a report on how district attorneys and cops were abusing or ignoring law designed to protect the gun ownership rights of drivers.
Most notably, however, in 2008, the Nevada ACLU affiliate came right out and announced their support for second amendment rights, as a change in policy for the organization.